The Indian Space Research Organisation on Thursday morning successfully launched an earth observation satellite using a polar satellite launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The 16-hour countdown started on Wednesday evening and the rocket took off at 9.58 am.

The HysIS is a hyperspectral imaging observation satellite and has a mission span of five years. This was the 45th flight of the polar satellite launch vehicle, which is a four-stage launch vehicle with alternating solid and liquid stages. Along with the observation satellite, the mission carried 30 micro- and nano-satellites developed by Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. Of these, 23 satellites are from the US alone.

The HysIS satellite will be placed at an altitude of 636 km from the Earth’s surface and put in a polar synchronous orbit, setting it in motion along the axis running along the Earth’s geographic North and South Pole. The other satellites will be launched at an altitude of 504 km.

The satellite’s main aim is to study the earth’s surface in visible, near-infrared and shortwave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It will help in monitoring pollution from industries and have applications in agriculture, forestry, geology, coastal zone study and inland water studies.

ISRO Chairperson K Sivan said the agency would next launch India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11, ANI reported. “It is going to be launched from French Guiana on December 5 at 2:08 am,” he said. “Subsequently in December, we are planning to have another long-awaited mission, with the GSLV [geo-synchronous launch vehicle] launching the GSAT-7A.”

The agency is scheduled to launch its lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan 2, in January next year.